A rule of thumb I normally follow when purchasing game music is to obtain a full/complete soundtrack for a game as often as possible. We’re not always fortunate enough to have full releases, but there are some occasions when it happens. With that said, I rarely buy an album that has only a handful of tracks, regardless of whether I really enjoyed the music (this relates most to anime OP/ED singles). However, there are times when I decide that being a hypocrite is okay, especially for releases like “if ~Hitori Omou~ / Renka,” because I have no shame and absolutely love this song.
You might know “if ~Hitori Omou~” better as the song, “Lost in Thoughts All Alone,” which is sung by Renka in the Japanese version of the game and Rena Strober in the English. For those who need a little bit of refreshing: it’s both the main theme and song Azura sings in Fire Emblem Fates. While I do believe both vocalists deliver excellent performances of their respective versions, my review will lean towards Renka’s version. Without further ado, let’s get started!
“Lost in Thoughts All Alone” is an absolutely gorgeous song that sends both chills down my spine and calmness to my mind. Starting the piece, we are introduced to a string quartet playing a familiar theme in a melancholic manner that sets the tone for the rest of the piece. The piano soon enters, emphasizing this mood, alongside some percussion with a delay effect (I believe that’s its name). What’s really interesting here is that the percussion somehow gives off the impression that you’re underwater. While it is heard throughout the piece, its briefness and delay are effective in bringing you underwater. I think that’s a fascinating effect you might get as well if you listen closely through most of the song. Another instrument that always sends me underwater is the bass (which enters around 0:51). Hearing both the bass and piano playing together always reminds me of Yasunori Mitsuda’s “Jellyfish Sea,” which is always a lovely and relaxing feeling.
The song continues with its dulcet melodies and lulling harmonies, also introducing the drum kit around 2:33. I like its use here (and throughout the piece), producing the thumping of a heartbeat. The beating adds a human element to the music as if we ourselves were there underwater with Azura while she sings her song (well, that’s the impression I get). Of course, “Lost in Thoughts All Alone” truly shines around 3:42, when the string quartet returns, soon playing the main theme of the piece once again at 4:06. The juxtaposition of Renka’s voice and the strings are aurally captivating.
Pieces I find interesting do what “Lost in Thoughts All Alone” does right: gradually introduce more instruments as the song progresses. I find this technique expansive, painting a bigger picture of what the composer is portraying through their lyrics/music. I bring this up because there are many ways to go about doing this, and it is up to the composer/lyricist to find that perfect union. In this case, we aren’t swept away by an orchestral tsunami, rather a soft current of strings, piano, and percussion (among other items). That’s solid work.
While I do find the other three tracks on this album delightful (the fourth track is another version of “Lost in Thoughts All Alone” with synth instruments and different instrumentation), they don’t quite hold a candle to this song. If anything, they are bonuses to this album.
I am enamored with both the instrumental writing and Renka’s vocals on this album, so listening to this gem was an absolute pleasure. If it isn’t clear, I purchased this album solely for “Lost in Thoughts All Alone.” However, I need to take off my rose-tinted classes (but just for a moment). I would only recommend this album if you are a diehard Fire Emblem Fates fan, or someone not planning on picking up the soundtrack who is interested in Renka’s music (especially for “Lost in Thoughts All Alone”). If you own the Fire Emblem Fates OST, then purchasing this would be pointless because the same song is on Disc 7. Of course, that didn’t stop me from buying it again.